February 18, 2020

Growing Roses in Florida

by Amanda Rose Newton

Roses are the quintessential flower of love. However, it takes more than just love for successful roses in Florida! Luckily, we have established time-honored techniques that have kept our roses successful from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s day and beyond.

Follow the steps below and you will be armed with all the tools needed to have your roses grow and flourish.

Rose Varieties

For those shopping for roses for the first time, the varieties (not to mention the endless supply of celebrity named roses) to choose from can be overwhelming. To make sure you pick the right rose to streamline your choices based on your current yard space.

Hybrid tea, or the “queen of the roses” have large blooms and may be overwhelming in small beds. Florbunda are the favorite landscape rose of Florida and grow lower to the ground, making them ideal for borders.

Climbing roses do as their namesake suggests, and since they grow vertically, they can be adapted to most spaces. Prepare to have to train them as roses are not naturally meant to go vertical.

If you are looking for a showstopping focal point, grandiflora is for you. Topping out at 8 feet tall, they feature large flowers that bloom most of the season.

Old roses refer to any rose variety that dates to 1867 or before. The fact they are still standing speaks volumes for their resistance.

Those short on space or not wanting showy flowers should gravitate towards miniatures. They have the same amazing rose scent, color, and bloom shape only in a tinier package.

You can rest easy knowing all the roses we carry are meant to do well in Florida.

Planting for Success

Growing Roses in Containers

If you choose to plant your roses in a pot, there are a few tips to keep your roses thriving:

1) Choose the pot depending on the size of the plant. A miniature rose plant needs a minimum of 10 inches of depth for a plant about 18 inches tall. A taller pot is better to allow room for the roots to grow.

2) Make sure that the pot has drainage holes. If a pot does not have them built-in, it is a very simple fix to drill some in the bottom to allow the water to pass through.

3) The best practice is to re-pot every 2-3 years to replace old soil and refresh the growing process.

We recommend using FoxFarm Happy Frog Soil and Epsoma Rosetone as your go-to planting mix. Make sure you add enough soil to the bottom of the pot so rose is planted at the same level as the pot it just left. Add soil loosely, being sure to leave the graft exposed. Fertilize every six weeks year-round with Rose Tone.

For planting in the ground, make sure you choose an area with morning sun. Our Florida afternoon sun is a bit too hot, even for sun-loving roses. They will be thrilled with the early day sun and reward your efforts with beautiful foliage and flowers. If you are planting several, make sure they have at least 3 feet of space between them to allow them to breathe. This will also prevent fungi from moving into the situation. Prepare a mix of our planting mix with the soil removed from the hole and place the new rose in so the root ball is just above ground level.

Watering Roses

Like all newly planted shrubs, make sure to water deeply every 2-3 days for the first month. Afterward, adjust for the changing weather conditions of Florida. Since they are susceptible to mildew and black spot, water early in the morning.

• Keep the soil saturated but not soaking wet.

• Make sure to water the roots and not the leaves (this also brings on fungus)

• Note that damp leaves can lead to sickness or mildew.


Pruning Roses

Pruning helps to keep the rose plant healthy and strong, give it shape, and allow new blooms to develop. The best time to prune is just before the first blooms arrive. For us, that means January and another light pruning in late July.

• Making sure your tools are in good shape and sharp aids in success.

• Start at the base of the plant (you will see suckers form below the graft union), cutting at a 45-degree angle.

• Remove any old leaves or dead branches to clear the way for new growth.

For cut flowers, cut the steps ¼ in above the leaflet.

Pests and Diseases.

Many of the same reasons we love roses (big flowers, nice smell) are also why pests love roses. Aphids, thrips, spider mites, and even leafcutter bees can cause various aesthetic and systemic damage to your roses. Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of these pests and routinely inspecting your roses will aid in your ability to catch a problem before it leaves you bloom less. Once you know the pest, we can help you select its best treatment. Feel free to email us pest photos- we love those!

Diseases of roses are mostly fungal, the most common being powdery mildew and black spot. To best control for these, start at the beginning! Make sure you are sanitizing your pruners and removing dead material routinely. If you use mulch, make sure you are replacing it every so often. Cutting down on places pests and fungi can hide decreases the likelihood they will make the rounds.

For fungal treatment, we recommend fertilome systemic fungicide, as this is also what the American Rose Association uses for most fungal issues.

Growing roses will take your yard and your gardening skills up a notch. Enjoy the experience and, as always, we are happy to hear about your success stories!

For further tips, check out our “Caring for Roses” video and “How to Prune Roses” video on our YouTube Channel